How Do You Solve Numerical Expressions?

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Numerical expressions are math problems containing only numbers and operational symbols. Solve by first completing any computations appearing inside parenthesis, working from left to right. Then compute exponents, working from left to right. Finally, complete the multiplication and division portions from left to right, followed by the remaining addition and subtraction portions.

  1. Compute the values inside any parenthesis

    Find the value of any portions of the numerical expression that are located inside parenthesis. Compute these values by working from left to right inside the parenthesis, doing multiplication and division first and addition and subtraction second. For example, compute (2 + 4) x (15 - 6 x 2) by first simplifying 2 + 4 to get 6 x (15 - 6 x 2) and then computing 6 x 2 to get 6 x (15 - 12). Finish computing the portion in the parenthesis by doing the subtraction to get 6 x 3.

  2. Simplify numbers with exponents

    Compute the actual value of any number in the numerical expression that has an exponent. For example, convert 2^2 to 4.

  3. Complete multiplication and division from left to right

    Working from left to right, compute any multiplication and division found within the numerical expression. Using this method, the expression 4 x 6 + 2 x 4 becomes 24 + 8.

  4. Complete addition and subtraction from left to right

    Finish the problem by completing the addition and subtraction, again working from left to right. This gives the solution to the numerical expression.